Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Franz Liszt's “Harmonies poétiques et religieuses”: The inspiration derived from the poetry of Alphonse de Lamartine, with an analysis of the 1853 piano cycle
by Tripathi, Sonia, D.M.A., University of California, Santa Barbara, 2011, 97; 3495705
Abstract (Summary)

A thorough understanding of Liszt's piano cycle, Harmonies poétiques et religieuses, requires a cross-section of research on Liszt, Lamartine, and the connections between music and literature in the nineteenth century. Many scholars have discussed the influence upon Liszt of poets such as Goethe, Schiller, and Dante. There is, however, scant information regarding the inspiration derived from Lamartine, despite the fact that two of Liszt's most grandiose compositions, Les Préludes and Harmonies poétiques et religieuses, are inspired by Lamartine's work. There are numerous French biographies on Lamartine, but only three in English; these are by William Fortescue, Charles Lombard, and Henry Remsen Whitehouse. Regarding theoretical analyses of Liszt's Harmonies, Joan Backus, Albert Brussee, Serge Gut, and Adrienne Kaczmarczyk have written thorough analyses of specific movements, but there is no extant analysis of the cycle as a whole.

This study aims to provide the relevant background information and analysis necessary for the pianist approaching Liszt's Harmonies poétiques et religieuses. Chapter 1 summarizes Liszt's vision of the "program," the his use of extra-musical references in many of his compositions. Chapter 2 discusses the composer's incorporation of literature and, specifically, the ways in which poetry exercised a profound role in his compositions. Chapter 3 provides biographical information on Lamartine, highlighting the Romantic ideals he shared with Liszt. In Chapter 4, an overview of Lamartine's Harmonies poétiques et religieuses examines the prevailing thematic material, as well as the reception of this work in the salons of the 1830s. Chapter 5 provides a similar examination of Liszt's Harmonies poétiques et religieuses. In particular, the long gestation of the work, and its various versions and specific ties to Lamartine's poetry, is addressed. Chapter 6 is analytical in nature, and is divided into three sections. The first section researches those movements directly linked with Lamartine's poems; the second section discusses the pieces in the cycle that are freer adaptations of the poetry; finally, the third section offers an overview of the pieces that Liszt added to Harmonies much later, which have no specific correlation to Lamartine, but perhaps add to the musical weight and structure of the work.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Asche, Charles, Katz, Derek
Commitee: Hsu, Dolores, Rutkowski, Geoffrey
School: University of California, Santa Barbara
Department: Music
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 73/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Music
Keywords: Harmonies, Harmonies poetiques et religieuses, Hungary, Lamartine, Alphonse de, Liszt, Franz, Piano, Poetiques, Religieuses
Publication Number: 3495705
ISBN: 978-1-267-19440-4
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